Gethin Watts has been appointed WRU National Performance Manager, taking charge of National and regional Age Grade Academy programmes, with four other appointments now in place to bolster the performance elements of Welsh rugby.
Gethin is a valuable, key member of the team and this new role is essential to the development of the National Age Grade strategic plans
Watts will be responsible for the development, delivery and management of the National Academy, with a focus on player identification, development and the fulfilment of potential across the performance end of the game.
The role has been created to enhance the National Academy strategy, including the delivery of the regional and national Age Grade programmes. Watts will work closely with the Head of Rugby Joe Lydon, newly appointed National Academy Coaching Manager Allan Lewis, National Squad staff, WRU regionally based performance managers, as well as all other key programme partners including Schools, Colleges, Students and Clubs.
Head of Rugby Joe Lydon said: "Gethin is a valuable, key member of the team and this new role is essential to the development of the National Age Grade strategic plans.
"Gethin will help ensure the relevant management and monitoring programmes are in place to support players within the systems at both national and regional levels. A key area of the work will be to maximise player potential within the national succession plan working in partnership with all relevant stakeholders within the performance pathway programmes.
"Gethin's previous experience as a Regional Performance Programme Manager is of huge benefit as he's very aware of the operational systems in place as well as our collective aims and objectives within Welsh Rugby."
In addition and to compliment Gethin Watts' appointment, Richard Hodges has been appointed to the position of regionally based Performance Programme Manager (Blues Region) and James Chapron will take up the position of Performance Programme Manager (Dragons Region). These two additional appointments see the creation of two regional Development Manager vacancies in the Blues and Dragons region respectively.
Further changes to existing WRU staff roles and responsibilities see Byron Hayward appointed as National Skills Coach within the Dragons region and Will Thomas moving to Rugby Compliance Manager.
Nearly 40 players were involved in the first Wales Under 18 training session of the season. WRU National Performance Manager Gethin Watts is excited at the potential shown by the group and expects the Regional Under 18 Championship to hone their skills even further.